I really didn’t have a good recipe or idea to write about this week and I was upset I was going to miss a “Food Friday” article, but then in just the past 12 hours I have heard from 3 people who got way off their eating schedule and then I personally had to deal with being just an hour off schedule and I thought I was going to fall over and pass out! So, through the unfortunate circumstances of others and my own issues with my eating schedule I bring you this amazing little article all about eating on a schedule and why not being on one will mess you up.
So, we are all busy people, some of you are parents and some of you work insane hours or have to travel for work, and sometimes…well…we don’t eat for long periods of time. This is bad mmmk! Seriously, someone like me who needs to eat over 3,500 calories a day to perform and run the business and train all of you and do my own training, if I am not eating every 3 hours my energy level will deplete very quickly and my training will suffer greatly. I am not a machine and I am not special, you may be at a lower calorie level and you may not train at the same intensity level as me but you cannot be skipping meals or skipping an entire day of eating, this will hinder your performance in the gym and can destroy your mental focus in your personal and business life.
This morning I heard about not one but two clients who had crazy busy days yesterday, they were not able to come to the gym to train, so they really did not require the same calorie intake they normally would if they were going to come and train with us, but they were far below their daily intake needed just to function and move around. The negative impact this can have on your performance in the gym the following day after you get a good night’s sleep and get back to eating the proper amount, is huge. Both clients basically had some small amount of food for breakfast as they were rushing out the door to go on a quick one day business trip…and then…they basically only had a couple snack for the rest of the day before going home and going to bed. Now one client said she made it home after 9 and didn’t want to be eating at 10 before going to bed, I will address this in a minute, but for now let’s just talk about what has happened. Say both of these clients being female would normally eat 2,400 calories a day and come to the gym and lift and do some high intensity cardio, by only eating around 1,200 calories they have dropped their energy stores and their body begins to eat itself. Even after coming home and sleeping for 8 hours and waking up to a big breakfast and then coming to the gym these people were still way below the calorie and energy level needed to train. Please understand, your body does not reset itself at midnight like Cinderalla’s carriage turning back into a pumpkin! Your body is on a continuous cycle that never stops. Yes you have a kind of a reset when you sleep for 8 hours, this is when your body repairs itself, but if you didn’t have anything to eat for the 12 hours before you went to bed, your body cannot repair itself because it has no energy (now this is completely different for those trying to lose weight but for those trying to perform and train to lift more and move faster this is not a good situation). Even if you wake up feeling somewhat refreshed, you have gone now 12 hours without food plus the 8 hours you slept, that is 20 hours almost an entire day! Just because you ate a good breakfast after this day long fasting doesn’t mean you’re ready to lift! Yes you can still lift, but you will not have the energy stores to truly hit your body’s full potential.
This brings me back to the part about getting home late and not wanting to eat late, possibly out of fear that eating late will cause weight gain. Again, your body is on a continuous cycle of energy expenditure and then refueling and then resting for repair, and as stated above, if you go to bed without eating for 12 hours before sleeping then your body cannot repair and you have disrupted the cycle. Eating at 10 at night is not going to make you fat. You will gain weight if you already ate 2,000 calories that day and your stasis limit is 2,400 and you then ate another 1,000 calories of food, now you are 600 calories over and you’re about to be sedentary for 8 hours, this absolutely will cause you to gain weight, and very bad weight that is hard to burn off. Eating at night is actually a great thing…as long as you are within your calorie limits for the day! My last meal of the day is almost always at 9:30-10pm but it is a very controlled amount of food and a perfect balance of protein/carbs/fat so that my body has the right fuel it needs to repair itself while I am resting. So don’t be scared to eat late night people, it will only make you gain weight if you are over your limit for the day! And if you have had a crazy day where you couldn’t get to food because you were too busy or stuck in the middle of nowhere, then please do eat before going to bed even if it is midnight!
Now onto my own story from today! Lindsay and I always eat lunch together on Friday’s, but today my workout went longer than planned, and she was on a project that went longer than planned. On my way down to meet her for lunch she called and said they wouldn’t be done anytime soon, so I turned around and headed out for sushi on my own. I was literally ready to fall over by the time I got to the sushi place to order! Lindsay had been out on a project and had gone several hours without food so she was starving too. Rather than delay our lunch just for the sake of seeing each other and keeping our Friday ritual, we both went out on our own for food. While we love our Friday lunches together it would have been very bad for our body and our eating schedule if we put off lunch for another hour. Please take note of this, the importance of maintaining an eating schedule and properly refueling before and after your workouts is paramount to your success in your workouts! If you are stuck in a meeting you need to excuse yourself for a minute even if it is just to grab an apple or a granola bar, just explain you are on a schedule and you cannot let your blood sugar or your energy levels drop too low. Try to always have some sort of little snack you pack and keep with you wherever you go, because if you are in a position where you could possibly get stuck putting off a meal for hours then you need to have something to tie you over until you get to a real meal. And you know, if there is a possibility it could happen, you being stuck without food, then it is probably going to happen, so be prepared! That is the entire basis of this article, to be prepared, think ahead, prep and pack your food or know where you going during your travel or work meetings so you know you can stop by someplace and grab some snacks or pack your own! And if you are busy all day today and you know you’re getting home late, don’t be afraid to eat before going to bed, you’ve got another big day ahead of you tomorrow and if tomorrow you plan on lifting weights and working out then you better be fueling up that body! Get yourself and your meals on a schedule and try as hard as you can to stick to it!